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Thread: Coffee gear and discussion thread

  1. #201
    Grinders aren't too heavy to shift, they just slide on your bench top? I really can't comment on the Vario, from what I've read it is a good choice, but imo the SJ would still have consistently better performance with less need to potentially groom the puck or worry so much about distribution. I'm not sure how much reviewers actually mention the ease of getting a good shot, they usually assume that one will do everything necessary to fix the deficiencies such as WDT. Fair enough if you go to the trouble of WDT each shot (time consuming) then the Vario may perform just as well, but that's a lifestyle choice you have to make. Unlike the Italian espresso machines, Mazzers are really built like a tank. If anything all you would have to do is replace the burrs, quite cheaply, and chuck a couple of kgs of supermarket beans through the new burrs to run them in and you'll have a great grinder that should last forever.

  2. #202
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    Absolutely. Let's not forget that most who would submit a review at a coffee equipment vendor's site (or CG or HB) don't mind fiddling for 20 minutes to extract a good shot. I doubt rahimlee's wife wants to spend 20+ minutes every morning to get her Half-Caf-Non-Fat-Low-Foam-Venti. Isn't that what the queue at Coffee Club or Gloria Jean's is for?
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  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by SameGuy View Post
    Absolutely. Let's not forget that most who would submit a review at a coffee equipment vendor's site (or CG or HB) don't mind fiddling for 20 minutes to extract a good shot. I doubt rahimlee's wife wants to spend 20+ minutes every morning to get her Half-Caf-Non-Fat-Low-Foam-Venti. Isn't that what the queue at Coffee Club or Gloria Jean's is for?
    Pretty much. She isn't concerned with anything, milk or performance related, she just assigned me research duty. She just wanted the nespresso but I couldn't just leave it alone, I did try though. Would I just be better off getting a machine around the 1k mark and trying it out for a while? I am usually into buying higher up and not worrying about buying again until whatever I have no longer works. I end up spending less money and don't want an upgrade for a long time. In this case since I have no prior experience I can be swayed by more experienced opinions.

    Thanks for the hep guys.

    Jared

  4. #204
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    I am the same way. But I'm also a hands-on geek, so I decided to save a bit and get a good, solid machine that is by far the best-selling entry-level home barista unit (the Rancilio Silvia). It's not perfect by any stretch -- the temperature dead band is huge and it vapor locks every initial heating cycle requiring a purge. But for $629 it can make outstanding espresso and surprisingly good milk drinks with some hands-on time. For another $150 you can add a PID kit to get rid of the temperature swings and it is close to perfect. Now to find an easily-installed vacuum breaker to get rid of the vapor locks and it would be the best sub-$1500 machine around.
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  5. #205
    If you have the discretionary, get the best you can get. I find re-sale a hassle and you end up not having to re-learn how to get the best out of your equipment. That being said, demand is there entry level gear so it'll probably be easy to move on when the time comes. Problem with buying something good is there is always an upgrade (more expensive usually) around the corner, regardless of how good a machine you get =)

  6. #206
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    RE Super Jolly height -- I do not use the hopper. I pour the beans for the shot into the grinder and then cover the hole w/ a tamper -- it fits perfectly. Ideally you would not be leaving beans in the hopper unless you were using them up each day, as they are just getting staler and staler when they are in there.

    W/ no hopper, there is no real height issue w/ cabinets.
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  7. #207
    Just a reminder to have good filtration in place for your water. Scale from unsuitable water can lead to very costly repairs or maintenance.

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by WildBoar View Post
    RE Super Jolly height -- I do not use the hopper. I pour the beans for the shot into the grinder and then cover the hole w/ a tamper -- it fits perfectly. Ideally you would not be leaving beans in the hopper unless you were using them up each day, as they are just getting staler and staler when they are in there.
    This is what I do as well. My 58mm tamper just lives in the throat of the grinder.
    I own a Vario also, but I have never tried to use it for espresso. It just makes coffee. But I can quickly and easily adjust the grind between drip in the Technivorm, or siphon brewed coffee in the Yama, or cold brew in the Toddy.

    This is well above your stated budget, but....
    If I were going to buy an espresso machine it would be a Vibiemme DoubleDomo from Stefano at EspressoCare.com
    Given your location on the other coast though, I would suggest the Izzo Alex Duetto II from ChrisCoffee.com

    I can't think of any sub $1,000 espresso machine that isn't a glorified toy. You can learn to fool around with one to work ok most of the time, but they don't "just work." I suffered through several different types of machines before finally realizing cheap machines are simply that. I would have saved a lot of time, money, and frustration just ponying up to begin with.

    And no, upgraditis doesn't end. I have my eyes on a Speedster.
    -Enjoy the ride. *** All statements made herein are my personal opinion and nothing more, regardless of tone or context. ***

  9. #209
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    LOL! Not denying the "they just work" aspect, but even with my crappy grinder I can pull decent doubles with my un-modded Silvia. The mods I indicated above would still keep the price below $1000 and help with the consistency. I still think the grinder would be the biggest factor in any setup. A sub-$1000 machine can make great espresso with a good grinder, while a crappy grinder will hinder the performance of a $2000+ machine. Where a more-expensive machine beats the Silvia and the P041 (among others) is in milk capabilities. A double boiler or heat exchanger machine will run circles around a thermoblock when it comes to steaming milk quickly, effortlessly and repeatedly. Between the $629 Silvia and the next step up is a wide, empty gap that ends around the QM Anita or Andreja Premium at ~$1600.
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  10. #210
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    I will admit to spending way more then I originally intended on our espresso machine because I wanted one I could manually control, yet also wanted semi-auto features so my wife could use it. Temp surfing on a Silvia, etc. was not an option for her. And due to her really liking cappuccinos and lattes a double boiler was important. But in the end, even the semi-auto was too complicated for her (well, really the grinding/ tamping), so I make all the espressos, cappuccinos, etc. Three years later, the sting of the machine cost is a distant memory, and I enjoy a nice cappuccino before heading to work each morning. And the machine gets a good workout when we host dinners and parties; the double boiler really helps out when making half a dozen cappuccinos (yes, we do not adhere to the 'no milk after 10:00 am' rule, and neither do our friends!).
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